Belgium Europe

The Results: Cost of Our Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

You saw what we did, where we stayed, and what we experienced.  We stayed in charming private apartments with full kitchens, tasted all Six Trappiest Brews of Belgium (visiting several of the actual Abbeys), sipped Champagne from famous names while looking over the fall colored vineyards, toured ancient cities, tasted yummy vittels …..So what did this dream trip cost and can you really afford to travel in style without breaking the bank which is the point of our whole blog?     I’ll let you decide.

Drum Roll Please…..

The Total 10 Days Cost of this trip for 2 people including International Flights, Accommodations, Car Rental, Gas, Tolls,  Drinks, Restaurants/ Food, Tips was
Total *  $  2,667.81
Per Person  $  1,333.91
Person/Day  $     133.39
* Not including gifts or things we bought to take home

Still think you can’t afford to travel in style without breaking the bank?    Here’s the breakdown of how we spent that money.

By Category  
Accommodations  $     778.59
Flights  $     816.00
Car Rental  $     167.74
Gas  $     177.15
Groceries  $        63.48
Parking  $     115.50
Restaurants  $     251.51
Tolls  $        36.34
Drinks  $     261.51
*  Full Expense List at bottom of post

A few notes…

We definitely spent more on alcohol than we would normally on a trip but since this was our trip theme it makes sense.  We didn’t scrimp and did exactly what we wanted to and stayed in some phenomenal places.
  • We rented all apartments/houses which allowed us to eat some meals at “home” which saved a bit.
  • We saved a bit of money by bringing some small baggies with spices and a little travel size jar of olive oil for cooking so we didn’t have to buy full size spices/ oil for cooking just a few meals.
  • We also sometimes share meals if we are not super hungry.
  • We had been to Bruges a couple times before so didn’t spend money on museums or other tourist attractions there as we have seen them before.
  • At airports we save money on meals and beverages due to having various lounge access via our credit card.
  • We got a great deal on our flights at $408 per person- but for those who follow our blog, you know we find deals like this a lot from all over America. This was an extra good deal as it also included one checked bag each which can be unusual these days but was a real perk for bringing home 16 bottles of beer & Champagne.
  • We didn’t pay to book seats ahead and were glad we didn’t as the international portion of the flights were not very full and we each scored a private row on both flights.
  • This trip was not in our immediate plans but when this deal popped up, we knew we couldn’t pass it up and a Belgium beer/Champagne Trip was on our “someday” bucket list.
  • We flew out of Houston versus our hometown of Dallas- a 3.5 hour drive- taking our own advice about considering alternate airports. It made sense for us as we had some business to take care of near Houston anyway.

Other perks/savings not included in these figures……

  • We earned 6000 Delta points for both the flights and amount we spent on Airbnbs. Earning about half the miles we need for a flash sale domestic ticket.
  • We also earned 24,080 ($301 cash equivalent) American Express points on the flight due to a special 20,000 point bonus offer they were having on KLM flights which are partners with Delta as well at the 5 points per dollar they always give me using my Platinum card to pay for flights.
  • We earned 3.5% back on our Airbnb’s and restaurants and 2.625% everywhere else due to our Bank Of America Premier Rewards credit card. We also got 5% back on two of the Airbnbs on this card due to a bonus offer. We probably will get about $68 dollars back based on what we put on that card.
  • Both cards also give us global entry which expedites security, immigration and customs in the USA.
  • We had free car, flight, and baggage delay insurance through our American Express platinum card.
  • Bank of America gave us trip protection for items charged on that card (Airbnb).
  • We avoided all foreign exchange fees as a perk of both credit cards.
  • We paid no ATM fees and got a great exchange rate with no fees when taking out cash due to our Charles Schwab ATM card.
  • We skipped the line at Hertz due to the free Gold status I get with my American Express Platinum card. We declined the free car upgrade offered as a Gold member as it was just the two of us and a smaller car is easier to drive/park in Europe and gets better gas mileage.

Sounds like we traveled with a lot of credit cards but actually just two and one Debit card. If you travel much, this is the trifecta I highly recommend.

  • The Charles Schwab branded American Express Platinum ($550 annual fee)- because it gives me..
    • $200 airline credit a year
    • $250 uber credit a year
    • $200 statement credit a year with Schwab relationship
    • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit per year
    • $100 credit towards global entry or TSA precheck
    • Gold status at Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Hertz and Avis
    • Access to American Express Centurion airport lounges
    • Priority Pass Select- access to over a 1000 airport lounges/restaurants
    • Access Delta clubs when flying Delta airlines
    • Trip, Baggage Delay, Car, and Purchase Protection Insurance
    • No Foreign Exchange Fees
    • Schwab gives you a 1.25x cash out bonus on your points
    • 5x points earned on flights
    • Amazing bonus offers to easily earn more points or get statement credits
    • If you are interested in this card, you can use this link to get 60,000 sign up bonus points ($750)
  • The Bank Of America Premier Rewards ($95 annual fee)

Now let me REALLY blow your mind. I can argue that this trip cost me nothing…nada, zip, $0.

How?  You ask. Because in 4 months I earned over 326,000 American Express points which when cashing out with my Schwab American Express Platinum bonus is equal to $4075 cash. So how did I earn that many points so fast? Hint, I didn’t spend $326,000 which is what you would have to shell out to normally earn this number of points. I’ll be revealing how I did this in my next article. But as you can see this trip, and a lot of my next trip cost me ZERO!

And the WINNER IS!

We had guesses ranging from $1600 to $7778, but the closest was Jacob Ham at $3500 (only $832.19 off from the actual total).  April McIntyre was a close second with her $1700 guess (only $967.81 off).   Congratulation to Jacob who will be receiving a $50 Amazon Gift Card for his guess.  

Here’s our Complete Expense List for this Trip:

In USD Description Category
 $                13.80 4 beers at Cantillion Drinks
 $                10.35 Parking Brussels Parking
 $                36.80 Groceries Groceries
 $                29.90 Westervland lunch beers wine Restaurant
 $                23.00 St. Bernadus plus tip 3 beers 2 wine Drinks
 $                18.98 dinner 2 burgers Restaurant
 $                27.03 3 beers 1 wine 1 soup Ghent Drinks
 $                27.95 Beer, wine chicken dinner salad soup fries Ghent Restaurant
 $                  9.20 Aldi Groceries Groceries
 $                11.50 Parking Ghent Parking
 $                50.60 Gas Gas
 $                18.06 Tolls Tolls
 $                17.25 Parking Parking
 $                11.50 Beer/wine Reims Drinks
 $                34.50  Veuve Clicquot 2 glass of Champagne Drinks
 $                28.18 Champagne, chicken tapa dinner Restaurant
 $                  2.30 Cheese crepe Restaurant
 $                  3.22 Chicken leg market Reims Restaurant
 $                  3.45 Olives market Reims Groceries
 $                19.55 Champagne tasting at au 36 Drinks
 $                  1.04 Croissant Restaurant
 $                11.50 Champagne tasting at vineyard Drinks
 $                55.20 4 glasses Champagne at chateau Sacy Drinks
 $                26.45 Dinner Indian Reims Restaurant
 $                  2.53 Quiche breakfast Restaurant
 $                18.40 Champagne on Avenue de Champagne Drinks
 $                  6.90 Tolls Tolls
 $                23.00 Gas Gas
 $                43.70 Gas Gas
 $                14.95 Pizza lunch, wine beer Restaurant
 $                  7.48 Dinner kebab wrap Restaurant
 $                  2.30 Crepe Restaurant
 $                11.39 Tolls Tolls
 $                51.29 Chimay 4 beer sampler, cheese plate, 2 wine, meatloaf quiche fries, beer Restaurant
 $                29.10 Gas Gas
 $                14.03 Snacks, drinks in Bruges Groceries
 $                16.10 Drinks Bruges (Beer, Wine) Drinks
 $                18.40 Beer sampler and beer Drinks
 $                  8.63 2 beers Drinks
 $                34.96 Nice Pasta Lunch Restaurant
 $                  3.91 Beer at de half maan Drinks
 $                16.40 Parking Parking
 $                30.75 Gas Gas
 $                60.00 Airport Parking Parking
 $              408.00 Flight Flight
 $              408.00 Flight Flight
 $              284.09 Accommodations Bruges Accommodations
 $                78.42 Accommodations Troyes Accommodations
 $              207.71 Accommodations Belgium Beer Country Accommodations
 $              208.37 Accommodations Reims Accommodations
 $              167.74 Car Rental Car Rental

If you missed any of the other posts of this trip, here they are

Day 1 & 2: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 3: Belgium’s Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 4: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 5: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 6: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 7: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 8: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 9: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

Day 10: Belgium Beer & Champagne France Tour

 

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